Greg Van Kirk is an Ashoka Lemelson Fellow, Ashoka Globalizer, and was recently recognized as Schwab Foundation “Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2012 (Latin America)” at the World Economic Forum.
The mission of the MCM is to create first-time access to life-changing technologies, products and services for isolated villagers by empowering first-time entrepreneurs as “community advisors”. The community advisors are trained to sell essential technologies in their communities, such as solar technologies, water filters, eyeglasses, and stoves. Entrepreneurs promote technologies via campaigns, door-to-door sales, and word-of-mouth. Technologies generate savings and improve the living standards of buyers. The community advisors receive products in consignment and earn a margin on each sale, thus running a profitable business from day one.
Without a solar lamp a family spends roughly $1.80 per week on kerosene and candles.With a solar lamp the family spends 50 cents per week. A family saves $1.30 every week. The family buys the lamp for $12.22.
In other words:
The break-even point for the family is 9.4 weeks. Considering a conservative product lifecycle of 2 years, the family has $122.98 in net savings.
The minimum wage in Haiti is around $110 per month. Therefore, with just one solar lamp, a family can earn an additional monthly salary over the course of 2 years. A small solution, big impact!